I've always appreciated fastidiousness in a man.  So, as a new-to-romance reader about six years back, imagine how thrilled I was to find romance heroes seem rather fond of cleanliness. 

More to the point, these guys adore regular showers, either solo - as a means of relieving wicked-mad sensual tension brought on by seemingly unrequited love/lust - or in a kind of wet and happy folie à deux in which he and a partner get crazy busy along the journey to HEA. I playfully suggest romance heroes -- often single handedly, as it were - can be attributed with the rise in romance fiction readers' interest in sexy, water-based love play.

My diggin' on the Lords of the Bath began with "Nerd Who Loved Me  ," by Vicki Lewis Thompson, my first romance book.  It had hot, joyful, slippery shower sex (safe, sane and protected) and a happily ever after that hooked me on romance after years of "good for me" lit w/nothing but heavy lifting in sight.

From there it was on to Marsha Canham, who seemed always to find a grotto with a voluptuous natural spring just right to lure to sexy hijinx -- and possible swordplay -- a piratical scoundrel and a ripe-yet-feisty-and-competent-in-some-manly-occupation-like-captaining-a-ship-or-something virgin.

Today, Kresley Cole's ( "If You Desire (MacCarrick Brothers Series #2) and Monica McCarty's ("Highland Scoundrel  " ) strapping Highlanders and old-school, Marsha Canham-great storytelling hook one into loving the hot springs and lochs they find for wet/wild love play that moves forward their lovers' love tales.

Not everyone's turned on by water-play fantasy, of course. For some, visions of Busby Berkley flicks, bathing-capped swimmers in synchronized patterns and, yikers, the reality of water sex-related complications can be a turn off.

For those folks I suggest sticking to scenes like this one from Jo Davis' "Under Fire  "  It's sexually explicit and unequivocally adults only.  And without a doubt the hero is, by scene's end, squeaky clean. 

And some folks say romance is dirty.

Tell us about your favorite water or shower and bath scenes. Why do you think they're popular?  Why do you think shower solo flights have become all the rage in erotic- and sensual romance?

Please check out my new article about romance, eBooks and RWA in Unabashedly Bookish (UB), "Green Is the Color of My True Love's Gear" here, plus all my UB romance features.

Message Edited by Michelle_Buonfiglio on 08-14-2009 11:56 AM
by amyskf on ‎07-22-2009 09:21 AM

I actually didn't need to read the scene from Under Fire, because, well, I've read it a few times in my copy of the book, it just sort of falls open to that page. Should I blush? Nah.


Water's always been connected with sex. Especially on the screen, how about From Here to Eternity, you can imagine the couples emotions crashing over them with each wave. Lapping, crashing, swirling -- and that's just the ocean.


Now the shower scenes, I lurve those, one reason is easy clean-up, especailly for the guy flying solo, nothing to pull us out of the scene, such as, 'what's he gonna do with all that?'

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-22-2009 09:23 AM

picture this, standing under the spray of a waterfall with your favorite Highlander Laird while his long hair is blowing in the mist and of course he's unadorned and the kilt is waiting on the beach for the after shower activities, and he's massaging softly scented soap into your body and hair while he whispers what he's going to do to you when he's finished. (blushing here) I don't remember which novel it was as I read like a maniac but dream about that all the time and my husband's not really the making whoopie in the spray of a waterfall I guess I'm outa luck.

The effect of love making in the shower, tub, hot tub lake, ocean etc has always been an erogenous zone for me as a reader, but I've never really taken the time to ask why. It effects me more in the historical romance novels then in the contemporary but as to why, who knows. It just turns me on! 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-22-2009 09:32 AM

LOL, dhaupt and amy, as my 12-year-old son sits next to me, obliviously crunching away at his breakfast.  I do love this work at home thing. 


See? Both of you mention the cleanliness factor, which is important to readers; we're able to suspend disbelief up to a point.  Like, what about all that sand in "From Here to Eternity?"  Much easier to pretend that plaid will do the trick after dhaupt's fantasy waterfall misting. I'm guessing there's brogue and lavender involved.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-22-2009 09:47 AM

I was drawn here by the steam coming out of my computer - now I see why! I'm glad you mentioned a slew of my favorite authors -- I love Vicki Lewis Thompson's hot nerds, but I also love her hex series, which is weird and wonderful.


Kresley Cole's books are always on my must-read list, and I've read Jo Davis' books, too. And, I just have to gush a little about Monica McCarty. She and Veronica Wolff were among the first authors I met at National, and they were unbelievably nice. Of course, once I introduced my roommate, Rosie, to her, things got a little down and dirty as they struggled over the prone body of Gerard Butler (virtually, anyway).


Thanks for a great post to kick off my morning! 

by Author PortiaDaCosta on ‎07-22-2009 10:56 AM

Ooh, yeah, I love those guy in a shower solo scenes, and agree about the aesthetic issues mentioned by Amy. It avoids a lot of ickiness! LOL


I'm stickler for cleanliness and scrupulous hygiene for my characters, as a writer, so I prefer later historicals and contemporaries for that reason, so I can include pretty thorough - and sexy - ablutions in my stories. 


But as a reader, I can usually suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story without wondering about hygiene issues too much, especially if it's a cracking read that sweeps me along and doesn't give me time to ponder about whether the characters whiff a bit, or what their teeth are like! 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-22-2009 11:23 AM
Yeah, Portia, I don't get too hung up on the "but they had such poor dental hygiene in those days," stuff.  In reverse, i do get kinda bummed if authors feel pressed to to prove how characters maintained good dental health because they fear being brutalized by picayune folks online. I'm not convinced the average reader cares all that much. She's just, like, 'it's fiction, so I believe you when you say his teeth were as snowy white as the linen shirt he tossed over the rock before he plunged into the loch to perform certain ablutions to rid himself of his unrequited love/lust for the bonnie lassie of his dreams.'

by amyskf on ‎07-22-2009 01:39 PM

I clutch my suspension of disbelief to my imagined breasts. I try never to think about teeth not being clean or white or complete. Portia, your post got me thinking about the term 'ablution' I always think of having ones sins washed away, no matter what the context.


Must be all those years in Catholic school.

by amyskf on ‎07-22-2009 01:40 PM
And dhaupt, thanks for the imagery...
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎07-22-2009 01:56 PM
You're welcome ;-)
by Author MonicaBurns on ‎07-22-2009 03:47 PM
I love showers because they're CLEAN. It washes away all the ick factor. LOL That and with soap, you can get EVERYTHING slick!! ROFL
by amyskf on ‎07-22-2009 05:01 PM

Monica! I'm shawked!


Not really.

 But I think Monicabrings up a good point, the fact that when you're in the shower, you put your hands on yourself, where and when else do you stroke yourself like that -- maybe with moisturizer (another column perhaps?) but really, we don't walk around stroking ourselves. So that amps up the sensuality of water.

by amyskf on ‎07-22-2009 05:23 PM

Monica, I'm shawked!

Not really.


But, Monica brings up a good point, where and when else does a person stroke themselves the way they do in a shower, we are never that loving to ourselves in the dry world.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-23-2009 12:28 PM
Well, I think what you're saying is -- and I'm so totally being serious here -- is that humans don't always get enough 'human touch'.  I've long had this theory that the reason we spill so much dish to our hair stylists is that they touch us.  So many people -- even those in relationships -- go w/out regular hand-on-skin contact.  In historicals, often it's shocking when a heroine realizes she's not been hugged since childhood. As kids grow up, parents often lament the loss of those hugs,etc. 

So human touch is a commodity. Why shouldn't recieving it become fantasy?
by Author Jessa_Slade on ‎07-23-2009 02:21 PM

That kiss on the beach in "From Here to Eternity" is sooo wonderfully sensual, even though I KNOW that the sand gets into your bathing suit, the salt water makes your hair stand on end, the 75 SPF sunscreen makes your skin sticky.  Don't bother me with reality!


Michelle, I wonder if you're on to something, equating bathing with our desire for human touch.  The bath is an easy place to justify laying hands on another, intimately, lovingly.  Think of all those medieval heroines telling themselves they just HAVE to sluice water over those broad shoulders; it's their duty after all :smileywink:

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎07-23-2009 02:45 PM
Just read Loretta Chase's Your Scandalous Ways -- nice bathtub scene in that one. It takes place in Venice and there's a lot of water involved!
by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎07-23-2009 03:03 PM
Great point, Jessa! Your pov sure adds a pleasant layer to the whole "medieval guest-host obligation."
by amyskf on ‎07-24-2009 01:26 AM

Michelle and Jesse, such a good point -- I heard somewhere that a child should have 10-16 hugs a day. I'd like a few of those...But I also meant that sometimes when we don't get that other person touching us, it's nice to be kind to ourselves.


When my stylist starts massaging my head during the shampoo -- swear, if I were Hilary, I'd be spillin' all the secrets.




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